How to Travel Like Bizarre Foods’ Host Andrew Zimmern
Tips from the experts By Yahoo! Travel
Andrew Zimmern wants you to know that travel can, and will, change your life. (Flickr: Gary Stevens)
Andrew Zimmern wants you to travel more. He thinks you could use some more adventures in your life, and he knows travel will make you a happier person. It’s that simple. You should listen to Andrew Zimmern.
The host of Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations is always on the go, but we managed to catch up with him to chat about eating strange/gross things, escaping from your comfort zone, and whether or not you should check a bag when you get on an airplane.
Yahoo Travel: What are your favorite destinations coming up this year?
Andrew Zimmern: I’m really, really excited about the new show I have on Travel Channel, the as yet unnamed April 18 show. We are in the middle of shooting that and taking a new look at cities like Berlin and London. I got to go to Hyderabad, one of the world’s truly great old food cultures, and experience that through the eyes of the working people of the city as opposed to fancy restaurants and cars. I am going to Senegal with another show of mine in February and looking forward to getting back to Africa.
You travel all the time. Our readers want to travel like you, but sometimes that seems impossible. What’s your advice for them?
It always seems easier to book something with a travel agent, but the problem is that you get a sterilized tourist experience, and that bores me. I like travelers’ experiences.
I think people have an aversion to taking risks, and my recommendation to them is that if you continue to do what you do you will continue to get what you get.
If you are OK with always being in the resort and having a BLT for lunch, then stop paying attention to me right now, because that to me is the kiss of death.
I think the experience of travel is transformative. I think you are the best version of yourself on the road. I think we become more interested in other people and more efficient and tolerant and understanding and we can export that back into our own lives and we become better for it.
A friend of mine has a 23-year-old daughter who is traveling in Panama, Nicaragua, and Peru. She is just up and going to Europe next … staying in hostels and spending her own money. That’s the way more adults should travel— the way my friends’ college-age daughter does.
Why do you think travel is so important for couples and for families?
Travel creates both shared experiences and shared memories. There isn’t an authority in the world who wouldn’t tell you it is the single best activity you can do. When you travel you will spend more real time together.
A couple years ago my family and I did an guided adventure trip through Costa Rica, and we are still talking about how we climbed that 400-foot tree and how we crashed our balloon.
We always know what we are doing at home. It is important to be in a situation that is different and has challenges.
Now onto the important stuff. Do you check a bag or carry on?
Checked! I want to have lots of choices. I want choices in clothing options so that I don’t have to scramble at the last second because I don’t have gear.
Do you disconnect when you travel?
Being connected is the greatest thing in the whole world.
How can our readers find their own bizarre foods when they travel?
One person’s weird is another person’s wonderful. The foods that are unusual with a great story are all around us. Ask the locals where they go, where they really go. Ask the workers at your hotel where they eat after work.
What’s your advice for our readers who think they may be too old to travel?
There’s a great saying my friends in the special forces use that pain is fear leaving the body. I think that at a certain point in life you think you know it all and you think you know what you like, and I don’t think that is the case. I think we don’t know what we like. I think we constantly have to get up in a state of hyperarousal and try to remain forever teachable. I never would have imagined doing some of the things that I just did on my last vacation or my last work trip. In two days I am paragliding off a mountain. I swore when I was 40 I would never do that and here I am and I am 54 and I can’t wait.
Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations premieres on 1/26 at 9 p.m. ET.
By Jo Piazza
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